Written By – Vihan
On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear a petition in the case titled Mahabir Singh v. Union of India, asking to order all Central Armed Police Forces (“CAPFs”) to conduct detailed mental health exams of all soldiers in the Forces on a regular basis to maintain their physical and mental competence while on duty.
The retired members of the CAPF, who had also requested the formation of a non-uniformed cadre of trained and eligible psychological counselors in CAPFs, were granted the liberty to approach the concerned authorities to make a representation, according to a bench of Justices Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari. Authorities were also given orders to dispose of the items as soon as possible. When the case was called for hearing, Senior Advocate Chander Uday Singh defending the retired members claimed that suicides among CAPF members were on the rise.
He also said that the Mental Health Services Act of 2017 does not provide counseling or psychiatric care to army soldiers. As a result, the bench, although declining to hear the petition, urged the authorities to deal with the representation as soon as possible.
The Petitioners wished to emphasise that, while the situation appears to be one of unnatural deaths, suicides, and fratricide on the surface, the reality is gloomy and goes far deeper than what is visible. The benefits of legislation did not percolate in letter and spirit to the Armed Forces, where physical health is far more important than mental health, which is still overlooked as a parameter to adjudicate
personnel’s health holistically and is still stigmatized and brushed under the carpet, according to the petition. Advocate Shilpa Liza George and Advocate Manoj V George filed the petition.